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9/10/2013
08:51 AM
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Workday Big Data Drive Starts Small

Workday Big Data Analytics is ready to take on big external data sets, but for now most customers are focused on internal analyses of smaller data.

So despite the lack of scale and variety many customers envision using, right now Workday's use of big data technologies lets end users load, explore and make sense of more common, structured data as is. "One of the flaws of the typical BI cycle is that because it's a typically IT-heavy process and you're populating a defined schema, you don't get to mine and make sense of your data," Beck said. "Learning about your data and understanding a correlation between, say, pay and performance is also part of the promise of big data."

Workday plans to extend Workday Big Data Analytics capabilities by adding more templates, and it has welcomed partners to do the same. Partners Deloitte and IBM Global Business Services, for example, are planning Manager Effectiveness and Attrition reporting templates, respectively. Deloitte's template will be designed to assess manager performance by comparing sales data from CRM systems, productivity metrics from help desks, and customer and employee satisfaction data from survey tools. IBM's template is intended to reduce compensation-related employee turnover by comparing worker and location profiles in Workday with salary benchmark and survey data in IBM Kenexa.

Higher-Ed Aspirations

Workday made two significant announcements for the higher-education market on Tuesday. As part of the Workday 20 release, the company introduced new endowment accounting capabilities designed to give colleges and universities a single system for tracking and managing financial gifts. The system will replace disparate and antiquated paper-based tracking, reducing costs and time spent on complex financial reports, according to Workday. It's also designed to improve response times to revenue and spending inquiries and ensure adherence to compliance standards set forth by boards and local, state and national government bodies.

In a major new application development effort, Workday announced it will introduce Workday Student. The new application will provide a student information system of record and will include components for student recruiting, admissions, registration, financial awards, student aid, tuition management and graduation.

The first Workday Student components are expected to be introduced in mid-2014, and the company expects the full system to be rolled out by 2016. The system is intended to take on PeopleSoft (a company co-founded by Workday co-founder Dave Duffield) and other aging platforms that Workday says weren't designed for the mobile, socially connected and non-traditional part-time and increasingly online student bodies of today.

Like its sister HCM and financials applications, Workday Student will be cloud-based software that Workday asserts will be more agile and adaptable for colleges and universities, while better meeting student expectations for online, mobile and social functionality than aging, on-premises applications.

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D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
9/10/2013 | 2:19:48 PM
re: Workday Big Data Drive Starts Small
On big data, the only question I had left unanswered was how Datameer does its integration and analysis tricks running on top of S3 and EC2? Anyone?

On higher ed, big problems not solved by current student systems? Colleges and universities are having a hard time with demand planning in part because there are so many non-traditional, part-time, online and on- and off-again students that take up
to six years to graduate. College and university financial pressures also make it difficult for students to register for high-demand, degree-required classes. Workday says students need "guided pathways" (think wizards) to alert them to the graduation and financial ramifications of their choices. If a student explores options to switch majors, for example, Workday Student will be able to warn when and whether financial aid might run out, the vendor says.

Workday is clearly hip to the latest demands. Now it's building an application from
scratch with input from partner customers to deliver what Workday says will be the
first new student system introduced in the last 20 years.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
9/10/2013 | 6:39:07 PM
re: Workday Big Data Drive Starts Small
If they can orient student information systems toward the needs of the student, rather than the administrators only, that could be a winner tapping into the trend of consumer-driven IT.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
9/10/2013 | 7:03:59 PM
re: Workday Big Data Drive Starts Small
Turns out a college local to me in South Florida is one of several working with Workday to design this student tracking system to their specs.Just received this by email:

Broward College, which serves 67,000 students throughout the Fort Lauderdale area, announced today that is has partnered with Workday, a leader in enterprise cloud applications for human resources and finance, to help design the first student application built in the last 20 years for higher education - and the first in the cloud.

Challenged with antiquated systems that were not built
for the needs of todayGÇÖs students or institutions, Broward has joined other select higher education institutions to help Workday design a mobile-first cloud application built for modern day that will transform the way colleges are able to serve students.


J. David Armstrong, Jr., president, Broward College, joined Dave Duffield, co-founder and co-CEO, Workday, on stage today at WorkdayGÇÖs annual customer conference, Workday Rising, to publicly announce plans to build the new application, Workday Student.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
9/10/2013 | 9:16:50 PM
re: Workday Big Data Drive Starts Small
That's very much what they have in mind. Workday execs say incumbent student systems were built for school admin, but students want and need something that makes dealing with the school Amazon shopping simple. The example above about getting an alert about consequences if you're attempting to change your major would be a case in point. That's just one example about having intelligent connections between course schedules, degree requirements, student aid and more -- not to mention more social stuff around offering feedback on professors, etc.
In short, much of the talk is about providing a more student-oriented system. Now it's a matter of delivering on the promise.
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